Thursday, February 1, 2007

Iraq refugee issue

Patrick Cockburn writes about the refugee problem in Iraq: Iraqis abandon their homes in Middle East's new refugee exodus The Independent 02/01/07. He writes:

Iraq is experiencing the biggest exodus in the Middle East since Palestinians were forced to flee in 1948 upon the creation of Israel.
This is one issue among others (especially the air war) that is badly underreported. And it's not just the "Sunni triangle" that is generating refugees:

They flee because they fear for their lives. Some 3,000 Iraqis are being killed every month according to the UN. Most come from Baghdad and the centre of the country, but all of Iraq outside the three Kurdish provinces in the north is extremely violent. A detailed survey by the International Organisation for Migration on displacement within Iraq said that most people move after direct threats to their lives: "These threats take the form of abductions; assassinations of individuals or their families." (my emphasis)
Jordan and Syria are receiving most of the refugees right now. When the US forces leave, the will have to take pretty much anyone who worked closely with the Americans with them: translators, other employees, friendly officials. Otherwise they would be killed. The US will wind up taking a significant number of refugees.

The Sunnis are most under pressure, according to Cockburn's report:

For Sunni there is no real place of safety in Iraq. In Baghdad they are being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas. Cities like Ramadi and Fallujah are partly ruined and very dangerous.
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